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Measuring Event Success Part 3: Setting Event Goals

In order to make a case for throwing events, you need to be able to prove that the event is adding value to the business and converting prospects and customers. As we recently discussed, measuring event success starts with setting event goals. Without this first step, understanding the impact of your event becomes a nebulous idea.

Start by setting an overarching goal for the event. This will help to determine who to invite (prospects, one-time customers, top clients) and which type of event to book. From there, you’ll need to set up KPIs. Best practices call for setting three to five KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, per event to best measure an event’s success. Like most business goals, your KPIs should be specific, attainable and measurable. To set your KPIs, you’ll first need to determine how much to spend on your event.

Prospecting events

For prospecting events, we suggest using the LTV / CAC model. LTV, or Customer Lifetime Value, represents how much a new customer is worth to your business over that customers’ lifetime. CAC, or Customer Acquisition Cost, represents how much it costs you to acquire a customer, including all Sales and Marketing (S&M) costs. Most technology companies target an LTV / CAC ratio of at least 3x. Let’s consider an illustrative example: if your average customer generates $30,000 in Gross Profit, you could consider spending up to $10,000 on an event for each customer you close. A few notes to remember for the LTV / CAC framework:

  • A customer’s’ average lifetime is different for each business. It can be anywhere from months to years.
  • CAC should always include the fully-loaded cost of all Sales & Marketing spend. In the simplified example above, we were implying that the event cost was the only S&M spend, which is not the case for most companies.
  • LTV should be represented by Gross Profit (Revenue less direct Cost of Revenue) because Gross Profit is the maximum amount available to invest in S&M

Client appreciation events

If you’re hosting an event for existing clients, you’ll want to look at your pipeline before and after the event. By tracking client engagement and what’s in the pipeline before and after the event, you can look at trends to identify whether or not the event was in influencer in the decision to make a purchase. Again, it should be noted that not all purchases will happen immediately. You’ll need to look at your sales cycle, and determine an appropriate end date for your event campaign. You can then look for spikes in purchase behavior or engagement in the months after the event.

The best way to monitor this is by looking at different customer scoring models in various tools like Datahug, Pardot and Salesforce. To learn more about how these tools can help you manage pipeline and determine event ROI, read through our round-up of the best event planning and tracking tools.

Identifying KPIs

Once you’ve determined event spend, you can start setting your KPIs. Though determining the success of your event will alter drastically based on the event goal, we’ve put together a few as examples.

  • For prospecting events, your goals may be to capture a certain number of new emails to add to your database and set up X number of meetings. In the months following the event, you’ll also want to look at the close rate of the accounts that attended the event.
  • When launching a new product, you may want to close a certain number of sales at the event (as determined by your LTV / CAC ratio) or schedule a certain number of demos with prospective clients.
  • For client appreciation or re-engagement events, you may want to walk away with a certain number of meetings, or see X number of sales close within 60 days of your event (or whatever timeframe is most appropriate for your sales cycle). You may also want to set goals for the number of “big ticket” items that are sold. Clients are more likely to make a large purchase after meeting face-to-face than after getting a cold call.

No matter the overarching goal and associated KPIs, it’s wise to send a post-event survey to help determine the event’s success. The qualitative data and feedback will help you to better gauge attendee satisfaction and improve the next event.

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